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How to Run Your Company with Remote Compliance

When businesses introduced remote working a few years ago, not many foresaw the lasting impact it would have in the workforce. But the practice of working at some distance from the office has stuck around for various reasons, mainly to do with convenience and cost.

However appealing remote work may be, it has its drawbacks. One of the biggest challenges is maintaining compliance so that workers are secure, happy, and productive. There are several areas you need to keep an eye on so that we can enjoy the benefits of remote work while remaining free of some of its problems.

Abide to Local Laws

Seems a little counter-intuitive in this digital age, but adhering to local laws is fundamental. Wherever your employee is working, you have to ensure that you are following employment and other regulations that apply in that corner of the world.

As we will see, there are a large number of areas to stay on top of. It is also worth noting that environmental regulations may apply.


Certainly, pay is a big consideration. More and more countries have introduced a minimum wage level, which means that outsourcing and undercompensating your hardworking staff are, if not over entirely in all corners of the world, certainly a shadow of their former selves.

Some territories have quite eye-watering minimum wage levels set. Take Luxembourg for example, it may be unlikely that you would set up a labor-heavy operation in such a high-cost zone, but you might have a specialist or two located there for logistical reasons. If so, you are going to need to shell out not less than $3,357 per month for a skilled employee over the age of 18.

Be aware that even if you are not operating internationally, but just within the U.S., minimum wages can vary across state lines. Some cities even have their own levels.

Nonetheless, whatever minimum wage level applies to that territory, you need to be sure that you meet that requirement and that you stay on top of developments because you can be sure that a country that has set a minimum wage will be raising it at regular junctures. Online sites may help you to stay informed.


Some countries have introduced levels of protection for remote workers that seek to allow them to function happily in a position that is disconnected from their employers. That is because there are elements of being in this circumstance that can be highly injurious to an employee’s well-being.

One of them is an inability to shut down work for the day. When you are working in an office, it is pretty clear for all employees to determine when you are available.

However, with remote workers, it is not so easy to discern their availability, especially after-hours. For this reason, remote workers can find themselves harried when they have already put in a full day at the terminal. There are ways around managing this, but they can be challenging if you are operating in a country that has strong employee privacy laws.

It is worth checking with the government websites of any country that you are planning on setting up operations in. Then, check in regularly for developments.


You might think that once a contract is signed, it can then be safely stored away without much further need to access it. However, every country has its own requirements regarding what goes into a contract and how regularly it needs to be updated.

Moreover, in some countries, contracts are a much more organic entity that needs updating regularly. In Portugal, for instance, employment contracts have to be renewed every three years in order to ensure that they are completely current, valid, and applicable.

In most countries, you will find that there have to be contract revisions should there be any substantive changes to an employee’s working conditions, such as going from office to remote working.

A good resource to check on matters such as contracts in different countries is the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Employee Shifts

Most countries will require you to keep a clear record of your employees on whether the staff are full-time or part-time, directly employed or freelance.

The IRS, for instance, has very strict remote employment rules on who can be a contractor and who can be a conventional employee. Here is an example of what to keep in mind: the IRS states that if an individual is working in a role that is key to the nature of the business, then that individual cannot be a contractor. Same with long-term employment situations.

Therefore, if you are a customer support services company, and you have a long-term remote engineer who enables those services to operate, you cannot treat them as a contractor. They have to be direct employees with all the benefits and protections that apply.

Local Taxes

Once more, taxation varies enormously from country to country or from state to state. This can pose certain risks for organizations, therefore, you need to be sure you have a good handle on what laws apply where, and you need to be attentive, as some countries have complex tax situations.

Employee Monitoring

As noted above, it is necessary, from an organizational point of view to ensure that staff is operating smoothly and work is delivered on time. Regardless of the environment, remote or office, it is unrealistic to expect employees to have extensive productive working hours. In any case, it is not just useful for businesses to keep an eye on an employee’s working hours. It is a statutory requirement in many places to have in place accurate and reliable means of measuring time spent working so that the employee receives fair compensation for their efforts.

It means that overtime can apply at the correct point, and it also guards against working over the maximum hours permissible in that territory. In the EU, for instance, an employee has to give explicit permission before an organization can request them to work over 48 hours a week.

But there is the accompanying issue of respecting employee privacy. Tracking hours is fair enough. Tracking keystrokes or using camera surveillance falls against regulations in most countries. Additional areas we need to cover are:

  • Discrimination

Whatever rules apply in a given territory should be observed. Not only that, but discrimination policies that are obtained for an organization should apply across the board. Remote workers often can be indirectly discriminated against because of their physical removal, so we have to be sure that, for instance, benefits are equally applied no matter where the employee happens to be.

  • Health and Safety

The very same health and safety standards that apply in an office setting to keep employees safe need to be applied in remote environments. Thus, equipment needs to be as standardized as possible, and working practices need to be as uniform as they can be.

You also need to be sure that your remote workers are adhering to the health and safety standards that apply in the territory they are working in. Again, the ILO is a great place to start your journey of discovery.

  • Information Security

This is, of course, an area growing in importance as data breaches become both more prevalent and more damaging. With an ever-growing array of protection legislations present in the majority of countries, it is imperative that you ensure that your remote workers follow the correct rules, both for the relevant country and for your organization.

Remote work, whether it be remote access to PC operations while on the move, or keeping on top of a project via laptop in a hotel room, is an area that some might think is especially vulnerable to cyber threats, but this is not necessarily true. With encryption and adherence to correct procedures, the risk can be mitigated, but vigilance should be upheld at all times.


Extending an organization overseas into sometimes distant territories can be enormously advantageous both for the business and the employee. Wherever your business operates, it has obligations to observe the standards that apply in any given territory.

The most important thing is to find out what regulations apply where. If yours is a business that is likely to enter into a large amount of remote international or cross-state working, it might be an idea to set up a specific remote compliance post or office. And wherever it is located, ensure it is compliant!

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